Published on August 27, 2014 by Adam Griffith

Photography drones are facing a perilous atmosphere of distrust and legal chaos. In these circumstances, even small mistakes can have big consequences. A shift in public sentiment against private drone usage could easily result in the application of restrictive regulations, or perhaps even conditional bans.

I don’t think it would even be hard to make this happen single-handedly. I have a list of ways that I’d do it, just in case I ever find myself bored on a Saturday:

1. Attempt dramatic close-up of President Obama at outdoor rally using a quadcopter with a GoPro duct-taped on.

2. Catalog the sleeping habits of everyday New Yorkers by surreptitiously snapping photographs of them through the windows of their thirtieth floor apartments at 3AM. Post said photographs on Tumblr.

3. Play chicken with Jumbo Jets at LAX.

4. Attempt to land drone on the back of an endangered Florida Manatee.

5. Post live streams online of local children’s playgrounds recorded from 40 feet in the air.

3689614043?profile=originalI see you ;)

It would probably take an attempt or two, but as soon as I got some traction on major news networks, a small public outcry against “invasion of privacy” or “endangering public safety” would mount and, within the week, proposals for bans on the use of drones by private citizens would flood into legislatures around the nation.

Bing. Bang. Boom. No more drones.

Full article here What does it take to get drones banned?

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  • I don't understand the banning in National Parks.  I do understand limitations.  In Yellowstone, yea, it's probably not a good idea to use one over the geysers and springs as the fellow who lost his did.  Also, of course don't fly over or close to people and their vehicles, tents, whatever, that's common courtesy.  But for reasons that it disturbes wild-life, they're noisy and if people seeing them in the air ruins their time.....that's getting far fetched.  In Louisiana, we have a National Park of a decomissioned ruined military base.  ATV's, camping, hunting is all allowed.  But a drone is not?  An ATV is louder than a drone and more people are killed in ATV accidents per year than there have been accidents with hobby drones in 5 years.  So ATV's, people camping, and hunting, that's okay for the wildlife but don't fly a drone?  National parks are some of the best places to fly because it's so beautiful.  We just need practical regulations.  Punish the people not acting responsible with the equipment, don't punish the equipment.

  • mcallenaerial: Electrical overstress, caused by flying well beyond the safe operational range of the pack. Sounds like poor airmanship to me. No good pilot flies beyond what their aircraft is capable of. Well, they can....once.

    Not even a low voltage alarm onboard...?

    A Fiat 500 twin air specs claim 80.7mpg (Extra urban), with a corresponding range of 872 miles. According to your logic, I should be able to drive cross the Sahara no problem at all, and never have to look at the fuel gauge, not even once.

  • Recently in Australia there have been a couple of positive article in the press regarding Drones.  The first one was in response to the usual declarations of doom run in a local newspaper in Mosman NSW. Residents complained of privacy invasion from a multi rotor taking photos/video for a real estate agent.  Police were called but found that all of the required approvals and licenses were in order and no action taken.

    Interestingly, the same paper then did an article espousing the virtues of both the operators and the technology.  Probably had something to do with the paper's major revenue stream being real estate!

    The second one was on national television with a report on Surf Life Savers possible trialling a local University adoption of UAV technology to drop a float to swimmers in trouble in the surf.  This was a very positive reports and did not focus on any negative aspects of UAV use in public.  In fact, it seemed to be trying to draw out reasons for UAV use in everyday life.

  • Middle of nowhere is a misconception @Stephen. True, there are a LOT of wide open spaces, some right smack in the middle of heavily populated urban areas. But strangely, the further away you get from "big cities" the more "nervous" people get when they see "drones" flying around. Especially in deep south Texas and more so along the border which is where I live.

    Besides, most of the commissioned work I do gets decided upon by the customer. I don't usually get to chose where and how I fly and I constantly have to remind my customers that although some shots are now technically possible, they are either unsafe or liable for future reprimand. (I make all my customers sign a waiver acknowledging the pending FAA regulations).

    You take a healthy dose of public misconception. Add some sensationalist media, stir in a political situation like the recent influx of thousands of underage immigrant children (not to mention all the standoffs between police and drug cartels on both sides of the border) and you end up with a VERY monitored airspace and trigger happy government agencies (wink @lot) that are suspicious of EVERYTHING!

    I once tried to take images of one of the only skyscrapers in the area on a Sunday morning at 6:30 am (there are only 5 building taller than 8 floors in McAllen) and had two all white unmarked vans circling me within a minute and a half of flight!. Scary !!! I only realized this when reviewing the flight video as I had FPV goggles on at the time and was trying to frame a cool shot not worried about any "authorities". After this event though. I now get stopped and sent to secondary revision EVERY time I try and cross the border. I cross into Mexico with full "drone gear" on a regular basis and had never been sent to secondary revision ever before. Might just be a coincidence. But I doubt it.

    So, to not deviate too much from the actual intention of this post and in response to @ThosJCoyleIII with my experiences. I agree it wouldn't take much. But I am convinced that the government is not only fully aware of the potential dangers, they are already watching and probably even already have security protocols in place that would avoid a major incident like example #1 of trying to get a close up of the president. Security countermeasures for "drones" is nothing new ( .

    I totally agree with @stone1295. I dont think the publisher of that ad has flown the Iris with gimbal and tall legs for himself very much.  Especially since they cite specs and these say .9 lb lifting capacity.

    Hence the need for regulations so we can quickly classify these UAV's into categories with specs and basic requirements for operation that are certified to be true and not a "little" hyped up.

    If I would have crashed a manned aircraft, there would have been an investigation and 3DRobotics would have had to justify why they sold me an airship that hovers at 75%throttle and shows the autopilot having to hit 100% throttle through basic maneuvers just to stay in the air. Not to mention why 1 cell failed mid flight considering it was purchased directly from them and thus deemed airworthy in accordance to whatever standards imposed on them. Laws are what make any activity "civilized" and protect innocent people from the consequences of said activities.

    @EuanRamsay. You are right. I DID exercise poor airman-ship by choosing the wrong tool for the job. Puffy batteries are usually caused either by a faulty cell, electrical over stress or physical damage. So considering the above statements and the fact that the gopro and gimbal survived without a scratch, who would you blame? I can man up when I make a mistake, but running all stock everything and watching it fail in such a manner on a commissioned job becasue I took tech specs at face value.??? tsk tsk tsk.

  • I hope the sub 2kg category does get past here in Australia.

    But there are still too many idiots ignoring basic safety. Like on the safety sheet that comes with the 'drone'.

    Too many people posting examples of stupidity on the 'show us your video thread' on RC Groups, Youtube etc.. And who wants to be the fun police! I know the moderators don't do anything!

    Glad DIY Drones has more sense.

  • (If I missed the joke, slap me now...I've had a fever for 8 days, and reality is getting a bit blurred at the edges).

  • mcallenaerial

    I'm not sure if I missed the joke here, but WTF? Did you just blame 3DR for your poor airmanship?

    Puffed batteries is not a technical problem. It's an operator problem.

    In your defence...I own a 2014 quad, and lordy, it's a surprisingly chunky beast, even in near RTF spec.

  • Hmm.. I seemed to have cut off my thought there...

    My last statement should've said "I don't know what the instructional flight consists of or whether or not the instructors warn their renters about what even makes up a safe flight; not to fly over/near crowds, over congested areas, near airports, etc., but the idea that anybody can rent an rc aircraft without knowing how to perform a pre flight test (something as simple as checking that the props are tight), or be familiar with how the aircraft works normally so they can recognize an abnormal situation, or even what to do in an emergency, or for that matter, what to do when the drone hits a failsafe and decides to land, scares the heck out of me.



  • It's probably going to be difficult to encourage the masses to act responsibly when there are sites like this popping up:


    This site offers 1 instructional flight and then the renter is free to take the drone out and do their own photography.  There are many problems with this, of course, but the one that I worry about most is that the renter probably isn't invested in the hobby at all so may not care if drones get banned or not.  They may even be unaware of the rules or even care about being a good steward for the hobby.  It appears that they're renting out drones with all the thought and care that a person may rent a bicycle. 


    I don't know what the instructional flight consists of or whether or not the instructors warn their renters about what even makes up a safe flight; not to fly over/near crowds, over congested areas, near airports, etc.





  • T3

    Makes me wish I lived in the middle of nowhere: a lot easier to do cool stuff without people caring.  As it is I live in the Baltimore DC metro area and I am pretty restricted in what flights I can do without raising eyebrows,

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